Neil Barrett’s interest in fashion began at an early age: born in Devon, South West England, both his grandfather and great-grandfather were master tailors, a talent that runs in the blood for this designer obsessed with the cut and finish of his immaculately-made apparel.
In pursuit of his early enthusiasm for fashion, Neil studied at both Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Immediately after his graduation, Neil was recruited to work at Florentine-based Gucci, where he was appointed Senior Men’s Designer.
After five years of work with Gucci, Neil approached Prada’s CEO Patrizio Bertelli proposing the start of a men’s line: 8 months later Prada Menswear was born. Enormously influential, Neil’s work under the Prada label was instrumental in establishing a blueprint of minimal menswear that combined luxurious fabrics and unparalleled Italian craftsmanship with high-tech sportswear and a forward-thinking approach to the modern man’s wardrobe. The very same approach still lies at the roots of the Neil Barrett label, founded in 1999 and debuting on the runway in 2000, at Pitti Uomo, Florence.
Ever since, Neil Barrett has delivered innovative and distinctive designs, with acute attention to fabric development and fits. The hallmarks of the Neil Barrett label are a modern interpretation of the timeless menswear staples, alongside striking, streamlined styling for the twenty-first century. Masculine, ageless and progressive, Neil Barrett designs combine precisely-cut tailoring, accurate detailing and athletic elements, covering a wide spectrum of fits to cater to the diversity of international markets while maintaining the sharp silhouette the Brand stands for.
In addition to his own label, Neil Barrett has collaborated with Puma on a collection of sports shoes. In 2003, he was named Creative Director for a series of Puma technical collections, including the Italy National Football Team’s on-pitch kit and formalwear, with which Italy went on to win the 2006 World Cup.
In 2006 Neil Barrett expanded into womenswear with the same clean, contemporary outlook. His collections offer women the same bespoke-quality finish, handcraft and luxurious textile as his menswear collections, alongside Neil Barrett’s trademark purity.
In 2009, instead of investing in retail stores, Neil Barrett chose to strengthen the very heart of the brand by creating a production division based in Tuscany, from where all sampling, production and distribution are currently coordinated. In countertrend with most fashion houses, 85% of the collections are, actually, Made in Italy. Moreover, the decision to independently reinvest in the production platforms – without a financial backer – coincided with a continued belief in focusing on Italian fabrics mills, new technologies and artisan producers.
2011 began with the strengthening of distribution: a Neil Barrett boutique opened in Landmark, Hong Kong, shortly followed by two mono-brand openings in Seoul, South Korea. Recently, Neil Barrett opened boutiques in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Macau, continuing the partnership with architect Zaha Hadid for the store-concepts.
Since the birth of the Brand, celebrities – with Brad Pitt at the forefront – have appreciated the modernity of Neil Barrett collections. Throughout the years, the label became a favorite of Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Justin Timberlake, who wore an exclusive Neil Barrett wardrobe throughout latest World Tour.